1) Have low energy in the afternoon? You may want to grab sugary foods and caffeine, but studies show that these choices give you only a brief boost in energy, and after that your mood sinks.
Instead: Enjoy a protein/ carbohydrate combination snack like whole wheat crackers and light string cheese, or an apple and peanut butter.
2) Feel stressed and crave comfort foods? You may crave carbohydrates because they boost serotonin which can have a calming effect. But remember that not all carbohydrates are created equal.
Instead: Forget the sugary doughnut; choose more complex carbohydrates such as whole grain products, beans, and vegetables, such as crunchy carrots, pea pods, and light Ranch dressing, or bean dip and whole grain pita crisps.
(Tip continues below)
3) No time to eat in the morning? You may be tempted to run out of the house without eating anything, but before you know it, your mood and energy level may start to sink and those vending machine chips may start looking awfully good.
Instead: Set your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier and make time for a quick breakfast such as a Kashi Go Lean meal replacement bar or a high fiber cereal with some nuts, fruit, and nonfat milk. Making good morning food choices will help your mood and energy level stay in check.
4) Feeling hungry and distracted mid morning? You may be tempted to reach into that M&M jar on your co-worker’s desk, but eating sugary candy won’t really satisfy you.
Instead: Could you be thirsty? Some people think they’re hungry when in actuality, they’re really just thirsty. Fill up your water bottle, and before you know it, your hunger may have diminished and you may feel more focused.
Now that you have an idea of how food can affect your mood in different situations, you can begin to start eating healthier and feel better!